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The first day of summer – also known as the summer solstice – lands on June 21 this year, which means the warmest season is almost upon us! While for most people that’s cause for celebration, for those who didn’t have time to garden this spring, the beginning of summer means the end of their opportunity to grow beautifully blooming plants and flowers. Or does it? There are actually some flowers and vegetables that thrive when planted during mid-summer. So if you were a little late to garden this year, don’t lay down your trowel and gardening gloves just yet. Here are a few things you can still plant in late June and July:

Flowers
fresh-cut sunflowers in a lemonade pitcher

Believe it or not, there are tons of flowers that grow well over the summer. Marigolds, for instance, are a gorgeous annual with deep golden and orange blossoms that mimic summer’s sunshine perfectly. Other good choices include sunflowers, impatiens and beautiful columbine. Even if you already planted any of these annuals once this year, plant them again this summer. That way, they’ll keep your garden looking beautiful for another few months. Keep in mind that some flowers, including impatiens, will do better with partial shade, rather than full-day sunlight.

Herbs

Starting an herb garden, or even an herb container garden, can be done at the beginning of summer if you choose types that thrive in the heat. Great choices for the season include basil, parsley, chives, sage and thyme. Not only will they grow well, but all of the above would be delicious to use in your summer cooking. Toss some fresh basil into a caprese salad or some parsley or sage into a pasta.

Vegetables

If you’re interested in planting vegetables over the summer, you still have plenty of options when June and July roll around. Veggies that love the summer sun include corn, eggplant, squash, zucchini, peas, carrots and bell peppers. If you’re more interested in fruit, you may want to consider planting melons – they grow well in heat, and they’re also a fresh and delicious treat for warm days.

Avoid planting any cold-weather vegetables, though, as these won’t make it through the season. These include greens (like lettuce, spinach and cabbage), cruciferous veggies (including broccoli and cauliflower) and peas.

Beans

Another crop perfect plant in the summertime is beans. Choose varieties that grow well in your particular climate zone, and try to plant them in June if possible. Some varieties will give you fresh beans within just a month or two!

Planting for Next Year

Remember that later in the summer is a good planting time as well. In fact, late summer and fall are when many people start planting their perennials for the following spring season. Take this time to start planning which plants and flowers you’d like to add to your garden so that you’re ready in time for the next planting season in a few months. Until then, relax and enjoy your freshly grown vegetables and your beautiful summer flowers.